succumbing to peer pressure

Saturday, May 15, 2004

Random Musing

As most of you know, I'm not really much of a Catholic. But I still sort of claim to be a member of the religion because it's how I was baptised, it's the type of service I most frequently attend (not that I attend any sort of service all that often), and although I doubt they would really mind if I converted to something else, it seems fairly important to my Mom and Grandmother. It is, of course, often difficult to be a liberal feminist and a Catholic and there are many times when I have had to bite my lip or simply remain silent during services (i.e. during call and repeat prayers when the priest asks us to pray for something I simply cannot honestly pray for, like the abolition of abortion). Anyway...I very rarely take communion as I wasn't confirmed (which I suppose technically means I'm not even Catholic in the first place) and I've never been to confession. To most people it probably isn't a big deal, but I personally consider it a small sign of respect that I remain in my seat and obey this rule of communion (although, as April points out, I could go up and receive the blessing anyway, I'm just not supposed to take the wafer or wine). But now that there's this big hullabaloo about denying communion to people who are pro-choice or even support or vote for politicians who are pro-choice or in favor of stem cell research, euthanasia, or gay marriage (I get a check for all of those categories) I kind of want to take communion. I realize that no one would know, thus not really making this a public statement or anything, but I feel sort of compelled to do it as a personal statement. Is that disrespectful? Or just silly?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm also a pseudo-Catholic. I've been paying attention to the whole "no communion" thing. I'm rather upset about it, because I think its part of a larger problem with Catholicism (and many other branches of Christianity): that people are encouraged to transfer their mental and moral autonomy to the church. Catholics aren't suypposed to think and ponder and reflect on these issues. Instead they are told that if they even passively allow any of these things, you're a sinner.

I think its also problematic for churches to be so publicly and openly getting involved in politics. I know this isn't a violation of the Establishment clause or anything, but churches are community leaders. They should persuade the public, not try to bully them into compliance.

Isn't it interesting which four they choose to point to: abortion (no surprise), stem cell research (ok, its related, but not really a big thing), euthanasia (does anyone even still argue for this?), and gay marriage (really, this makes the top four?). No word about capital punishment (which I would think should go hand in hand with abortion as a life-issue), or support for the poor, etc. Funny which of the messages in the Bible Christians choose to focus on. Kurt Vonnegut wrote that so many people want to post the Ten Commandmnets, but nobody wants to post the Beatitudes. Those are far more central to Jesus' message. Christianity was originally a revolutionary, society-transforming religion about helping the poor and the oppressed. Instead, its now about prayer in school, about castigating pornography and homosexuals, about creationism versus evolution. Really, with people starving and homeless, aren't there bigger issues than gay marriage or stem cells?


12:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well as you may know, I am know longer Catholic. I used to be very Catholic (if you can call it that). I went to the retreats, was confirmed, never missed a mass, etc. I decided not to be Catholic, mostly because I could not deal with the inconsistencies in the religion itself. I think it is very hard to keep silent when you feel so strongly about something you want to leap out of your seat and tell everyone. So I simply quit going. Which probably was/is upsetting to my mother. I even refused to be married in the Catholic church which means to people of that religion that we are not "really" married - which I have heard being whispered and in a way angers me, mostly because they have no idea what they are talking about from a legal standpoint. Interestingly, my mother let it go and let us do whatever we wanted. She even got rid of the thought of us having some type of ceremony at a later point in time with a priest present. Probably because she knew neither of us would agree to it.
Anyway, I no longer take communion. I feel like since I can't believe what they think about so many things (I could go on but you've probably heard all of them before) that it just wouldn't be right for me to take communion. I do still go to the church sometimes at my mother's request and when the rest of the family is going, simply out of respect for them, but that is as far as it goes. I think of myself more as a sociological observer rather than a person attending the mass.
However, I think if it makes you feel better to take communion, then you should. If as a personal statement to you it reaffirms what you believe then you should go ahead and take it. Religion is a personal thing and can be interpreted in many ways. So whatever it means to you is enough reason to take communion. Also I'm sure many people who the church might not be accepting of if they really knew their beliefs take communion. So why shouldn't you? I just do what feels right to me at the time. Those are my only guidelines for how to behave. I'm sure they aren't always right (according to other people) but they are for me.

12:49 PM  

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